leopard change

Horse-faced skirts are popular, and behind the national trend is cultural confidence

  During the Spring Festival of the Year of the Dragon, horse-faced skirts suddenly became a popular item of clothing.

On short videos and self-media platforms favored by young people, the horse-faced skirt has become a "traffic password". Many well-known bloggers and influencers wear it to visit cultural relics and popular attractions.

A report released by a well-known short video platform shows that in 2023, users of the platform posted content related to horse-faced skirts in more than 90 overseas countries and regions.

The horse-faced skirt has become a typical example of Chinese culture going overseas.

  The popularity of horse-faced skirts has also brought Xucun Town, Haining City, Zhejiang Province, out of the circle.

Customers from Hangzhou Sijiqing Clothing Wholesale Market, the "Cosmic Center" Caoxian County in Shandong Province and even overseas have come to this town in search of jacquard fabric, the main raw material for horse-faced skirts.

Xucun Town is one of the largest jacquard fabric bases and production and marketing centers in China.

Some merchants said that just by providing a design drawing, Xucun Town can know the fabrics they want and the related production processes.

Horse-faced skirt brings splendor to traditional textile town

  "During the Spring Festival, my wife and I were playing by the West Lake. In less than 20 minutes, we counted more than 30 tourists wearing horse-faced skirts." Shen Juhua, deputy general manager of Zhejiang Stableborg Textile Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Stableborg") According to the introduction, the production capacity of Staibao ranks among the top three in Xucun Town.

On the morning of February 21 alone, three groups of customers from different provinces visited Staibao to order horse-faced skirt fabrics.

Although the customer asked for a deposit, the company did not agree because the order has been scheduled for three months. This is also a common situation in all factories in Xucun Town.

  Just half a year ago, Stableberg didn't plan to invest much energy in horse skirt fabrics.

Shen Juhua consulted industry insiders and found that only a small group of people wear horse-faced skirts. Moreover, the skirts are very heavy and not suitable for modern life.

Like most companies in Xucun Town, Staibao's main product was curtains.

"It takes two months for the machine to change a warp beam. If the product is changed in the middle, all the threads have to be cut, which is a big waste." Shen Juhua said.

  But more and more customers are coming to the door, and there are various signs that the horse-faced skirt will become a popular item.

Starting from the conversion of the earliest 4 machines into OEM processing, Staibao continued to increase the number of looms and fully shifted to the production of horse skirt fabrics.

By September 2023, 24 new machines were purchased, 18 machines were ordered in November, and by the end of the year, a batch of additional machines were added.

  In Xucun Town, Staibao is not the only manufacturer that is constantly adding new machines to expand production capacity.

Industry insiders predict that by 2024, Xucun Town will add more than 1,000 machines.

An industry insider described the scene of clothing companies rushing to buy fabrics, "As long as you can grab the fabrics, you will be lucky. You don't have to choose the color at all. It's like opening a blind box."

  Haining Tianlong Cloth Industry is one of the early companies to enter the horse skirt market.

Wang Chao, the person in charge of the company, said that before 2022, the sales of horse-faced skirts will still be a niche market.

Later, because of the "Dior plagiarism horse-face skirt" incident, the horse-face skirt suddenly entered the public eye.

After the explosion, the market pie has become bigger and competition has become increasingly fierce.

In the Tianlong Cloth Industry's showroom, hundreds of jacquard fabrics and ready-made garments are hung. The horse-faced skirt is in the "C position", and there are also horse-faced skirts for parents and children.

According to reports, the sales of horse-faced skirts for parents and children are increasing rapidly. The skirts of mother and daughter have the same pattern and color, but the length of the skirts is different.

Post-00s designers and horse-faced skirts

  This year is the birth year of Liu Wenyue, a post-00s Hanfu designer.

So far, she has designed more than 400 sets of Hanfu, some of which have sold more than 30,000 pieces of horse-faced skirts.

A few months ago, photos of her wearing a self-designed blue and white porcelain horse-faced dress and riding a skateboard appeared in the country's top fashion magazines.

Although I don’t like the style of this photo very much, for a newcomer who has been in the industry for less than 4 years, this is already a rare opportunity.

  Liu Wenyue is a designer who became a monk halfway. She originally studied education, and her parents especially wanted her to become a teacher.

Her hometown is in the mountainous area of ​​Lishui, Zhejiang. When she was a child, she always wore clothes left by her sisters and then passed them on to the next generation.

When she was in high school, she bought her first set of Hanfu with the money she had saved for a long time.

Later, when she saw others posting Hanfu design drawings on the Internet, she thought it was not that difficult, so she used her fingers to draw on her mobile phone.

A merchant spent 300 yuan to buy her work, which was a set of blue Phoenix Hanfu made in Ming Dynasty.

Although it was not actually produced in the end, the merchant gave her a lot of professional guidance and suggested that she learn computer graphics.

  Soon, Liu Wenyue's design was selected by multiple businesses and entered mass production.

When she graduated from college, she already had enough experience and strength, so she chose to start her own business.

In July 2023, she moved the company from Lishui to Xucun Town because it is closer to the fabric production area.

  She has a wish to wear a horse-faced skirt with dragon patterns that she designed in her own year.

Fortunately, not only did this wish come true, but this dragon-print horse-face skirt also became a "hot item" in her store.

This dragon pattern is inspired by the caissons of traditional Chinese architecture.

Liu Wenyue made some changes in the design. She designed a dark pattern of dragon scales on the black background. The dragon pattern uses 7 different colors, including 2 types of gold alone.

"Eight colors is the current limit of jacquard fabrics, so this one is close to the limit."

  Liu Wenyue designed a red horse-faced skirt that sold more than 10,000 pieces. It was first designed for a friend's wedding. It used ginseng flowers, honeysuckle, mint and other patterns, which are all patterns with beautiful meanings of love.

There is also a mother-of-pearl pattern horse-faced skirt, which is inspired by traditional mother-of-pearl craftsmanship - exquisite shell carvings and jet-black lacquer, which glow brilliantly under the light.

Liu Wenyue used phantom silver threads and flower, bird, mountain and stone patterns, and added window lattice frame design to simulate a mother-of-pearl box.

After the fabric is developed, it will also emit colorful light when exposed to light.

  "Many of my design inspirations come from traditional intangible cultural heritage, but they cannot be copied completely. They must have their own designs and must be liked by modern young people." She often watches short videos late at night when she cannot sleep to see what young people like. .

Nowadays, many young people like to raise cats. Liu Wenyue raised three cats, and they all moved with her from Lishui to Xucun Town.

Among Liu Wenyue’s products, there are two cat-themed horse-faced skirts.

The cat wears a jeweled tiara and lies on a pile of shining jewels.

  In 2023, a video of Chinese cultural relics "coming home" from the British Museum went viral, and she paid attention to the cultural relics lost overseas.

She found the catalog of Chinese cultural relics in overseas museums and checked them carefully, and selected elements of dragon-pattern glazed tiles. More than 2,000 newly launched horse-faced skirts of the corresponding style have been sold.

  A blogger with tens of millions of fans bought 6 horse-faced skirts online in order to go to a foreign museum. Among them was a horse-faced skirt with a butterfly pattern, which was recognized by fans as a fake.

A netizen posted Liu Wenyue's website in this comment area. After purchasing the product, the blogger found that the textures of the fabrics were very different, so he made a special video.

This video received more than 50,000 likes.

  The news about Japan's discharge of nuclear wastewater also made Liu Wenyue pay attention to the protection of marine life.

Unconventional patterns such as swimming fish and jellyfish have become elements of horse-faced skirts through her wonderful brushstrokes.

For the swimming fish fabric, I had to repeat it seven or eight times just for proofing, and finally achieved the effect of a fish swimming in the water and changing its brilliance.

Change is eternal

  There is a textile intangible cultural heritage creative museum hidden in Haining China Home Textile City, which displays the unique textile intangible cultural heritage culture of different regions.

This year, some red and gold textile handicrafts with dragon elements are very popular. If you look closely at these handicrafts, you can see that there are cartoon dragon images, traditional dragon shapes, and designs that combine the dragon shape with the word "福".

He Rong, director of the Textile Intangible Cultural Heritage Creative Museum, started the design last year.

  In addition to the eight designers of its own team, the Textile Intangible Cultural Heritage Creative Museum has also signed contracts with universities such as the China Academy of Art and Zhejiang Science and Technology University to cooperate in developing not only handicrafts but also clothing fabrics such as horse-faced skirts.

At the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games, the Textile Intangible Cultural Heritage Creative Museum participated in the costume design for the awards ceremony.

At that time, silk jacquard fabrics were developed, but in the production of horse skirts, considering cost pricing, more cost-effective chemical fiber fabrics were often used.

  The popularity of horse-faced skirts has also driven the production of traditional silk jacquard fabrics. Although each loom can only produce dozens of meters of narrow-width fabrics every day, and even though the price per meter is as high as hundreds of yuan, demand still exceeds supply.

A person in charge of an enterprise showed the receipt for the silk raw materials he purchased the day before, which was close to 800 yuan per kilogram.

This company is also developing its own new Chinese-style ready-to-wear brand, preparing to produce high-end silk jacquard tops.

  The commercial landscape of Xucun Town is developed in a step-by-step manner.

In the 1980s, someone in Xucun Town purchased looms from Hangzhou that had been eliminated by old state-owned enterprises and began to enter the quilt production industry.

When more and more people began to use quilt covers, Xucun Town lost its market and turned to the production of jacquard fabrics such as curtains. As the real estate industry declined, the curtain market shrank.

When the horse-faced skirt business opportunity came, Xucun Town was filled with new vitality.

  During the interview, both fabric manufacturers and designers had a consensus: Maybe the horse-faced skirt will only be popular for two or three years, but the rise of national style and national trend has become unstoppable. As long as it can "change", it can be designed to suit modern people. There will be a huge market for new Chinese-style products that are suitable for wearing habits.

  The popularity of horse-faced skirts has made many people lament, "The end of fashion is the national trend."

Horse-faced skirts have further awakened the public's attention to traditional Chinese culture.

From this, more young people have begun to realize that traditional culture and clothing should be protected and passed on by ourselves.

Behind the prevalence of national style is the cultural confidence of young people.

  The horse-faced skirt designed by Liu Wenyue has the words "Horse-faced skirt created in China" woven into every fabric.

In her opinion, the horse-faced skirt was originally created in China, and its current design and production are also in China, so it was "created in China."

  China Youth Daily·China Youth Daily reporter Jiang Yutong Source: China Youth Daily